The biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea, as described in the book of Exodus, is familiar to many, if not all of us.
Escaping bondage in Egypt, the Israelites’ charge to the Promised Land came to a screeching halt at the Red Sea.
With Pharoah’s army giving chase, intent on massacre, all seemed lost for God’s chosen people until a moment of sheer divine intervention led their leader, Moses, to part the waters, allowing them to walk safely, while all the king’s men were washed away when the sea returned to normal at Moses’ command.
There have been many attempts at a scientific explanation over the years, and our purpose here is not to argue for or against the long-held belief that it was a miracle.
And, without pretending to be experts at interpreting biblical stories, it seems evident that in order to make it to the Promised Land the Red Sea must be parted.
It is a story learned the hard way by Perry Christie’s Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in the Bahamas yesterday.
Confident that it would make it to the Promised Land, or hold on to it, the PLP did not anticipate the power of the Red Sea that was the Free National Movement (FNM) of Dr Hubert Minnis.
By early evening it was evident that Mr Christie did not have the sort of power that Moses had and, unable to penetrate or part the Red Sea, his party was massacred, losing by a margin of 34-5, an election he was so sure he would win that he cancelled carnival.
Mr Christie himself was unable to survive the Red Army and lost his seat, as the gold and blue was swept from power.
With a general election due here within a year, the political pundits and observers are certain to make comparisons, insisting this is the zeitgeist of political change.
They will seek to compare the 73-year-old Christie, a charismatic and stylish leader who was unable to curb rising crime and increasing debt, with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the 66-year-old Barbadian leader who has been unable to revive the economy or control rising debt.
Many will search for the similarities in the economy, leadership, and the myriad reasons Mr Christie simply could not keep the promises he made or the Promised Land he had held.
But Mr Stuart is no Mr Christie, or, put the other way round, Mr Christie is no Mr Stuart.
For while the defeated Bahamian leader was stylish, style is not Mr Stuart’s style and ephemera is not his thing. He much prefers substance and highfalutin language, which sometimes border on equivocations and rhetorical flourishes.
Mr Stuart is never preoccupied with small stuff like whether critics think he is a good prime minister or not. He is more comfortable geeing up the faithful and getting them ready for the next poll.
There are already links between the new prime minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Barbados. He obtained his doctor of medicine degree from the University of the West Indies, after completing his training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Many observers will also point to the many challenges he had faced after he took over the helm of his party, with his leadership being seen as weak.
It was only in December last year that five of the nine FNM parliamentarians went to the governor general and asked that Dr Minnis be removed from the helm of the party.
With the Barbados economy yet to recover, and with many Barbadian at the point of penury and dystopia, the pundits and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) might be tempted to see yesterday’s result as a sign of things to come.
However, one election result does not a trend make, and it would be foolhardy to conclude that Barbadians will sweep out the ruling party with the raging red waters of the BLP simply because Bahamians did the same to their government.
At present, it is Mr Stuart and the DLP who stand tall, very much like Croesus, the sixth century king of Lydia, although Mr Stuart’s wealth lies in his broad experience and his sharp brain.
He would hope that his DLP does not suffer the same fate as Croesus, whose reign ended in defeat to Cyrus, and of whom the Canadian historian James Evans wrote: “By the fifth century at least, Croesus had become a figure of myth, who stood outside the conventional restraints of chronology.”
But then, the BLP must believe it is Cyrus, as it prepares its own Red Sea in an attempt to defeat the incumbent.
Politicians are fond of saying that they are sent by God to represent us. It is left to be seen who will need divine intervention next election, or if there will be parting of the Red Sea.